Zipcodes – Sold-Sight Unseen

Sold-Sight Unseen
1988 Plankton Records
London, England, United Kingdom

Peter Banks
Peter King

Stewart Van Blandameyer
Elana Harris
Mark Pearson
Colin Pye
Keith Smith
Dave West
Simon Wilkinson

Side 1:

  1. Got My Reasons
  2. Making It Tougher
  3. I Won’t Go Home
  4. Hold Me Tight
  5. Where Are You Now?
  6. Let It Go

Side 2:

  1. Hold On
  2. Never Let It Be Said
  3. Nothing You Can Say
  4. Found You Out
  5. Call Me Up
  6. Something Special

This is another English release that was a bit under the radar. If the names look somewhat familiar, it is because Banks and King were former members of After the Fire. When Peter King passed away in 1987, Peter Banks put together some of their demos and released this cassette. I would say that ATF is a good starting place for this band, maybe a bit pop-ier, but still very catchy and 80s sounding. Just a little less new wave/prog rock than ATF, but still bearing those genres as influences. There is a long list of people that played on this album, with each song having several different people playing. Kind of hard to find now, but something that should get more attention from fans of After The Fire for sure.

Solid Air Way – Past Bedtime

Solid Air
Way Past Bedtime
1986 Plankton Records
London, England, United Kingdom

Rue Randall – Guitars, vocals
Iain Trundle – Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Jeff Reynolds – Bass guitar, backing vocals
Gaz Weatherall – Drums, backing vocals

Paul Northridge – Additional guitar
Gill & Helena – Additional backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. Anti-Anti
  2. Now That I’ve Found Your Love
  3. Restless Love

Side 2:

  1. Living in a Real World
  2. Stranger to Myself
  3. All of My Dreams

There seems to be this whole world of underground British alternative in the 1980s that has only been partially unearthed. Some have been released digitally, but others are hard to find – like Solid Air. Their sound on this demo is kind of pop alternative rock with some new wave and techno influences here and there. To some, it is all just 80s rock. But they did a good job of it. They have at least five releases, with this one sitting between 1984’s It Ain’t Gonna Happen and 1990’s Pride and Pain. I am not sure how this one stacks up to those, or if this was their regular style or not. But I like it.

Pete Ward – Distance Grows

Pete Ward
Distance Grows
1986 Plankton Records
London, England, United Kingdom

Pete Ward – Guitar, vocals
Roman J.J. Solze – Bass
Simon Law – Guitars
Mags Law – Keyboards
Ali Byworth – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Shameful Secret
  2. My Time is Yours

Side 2:

  1. (Can’t Bear) This Pain
  2. Distance Grows

An older, short tape from across the big pond. Pete Ward plays alternative rock that is a bit on the quirky and pop side. This is pretty typical of British alt rock – but he does it very well. Simon and Mags Law of Sea Stone / Intransit / Fresh Claim fame play on this tape, along with Ali Byworth of Tribe of Dan fame. You can find this on Spotify and many other streaming/download purchase websites, so it is not particularly rare to find these songs. I would highly recommend seeking it out if you haven’t heard this tape yet. This is at least Ward’s fifth release, after other albums like Unusual Shade and Between the Eyes. Not to mention a split 7-inch with Intransit.

Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto – Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth

Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto
Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth
1983 Plankton Records (PCN106)
South Africa

Side 1:

  1. Umongikazi Part 1
  2. Umongikazi Part 2
  3. Umongikazi Part 3
  4. Umongikazi Part 4
  5. Umongikazi Part 5
  6. Umongikazi Part 6
  7. Umongikazi Part 7
  8. Umongikazi Part 8

Side 2:

  1. The Hungry Earth part 1
  2. The Hungry Earth part 2
  3. The Hungry Earth part 3
  4. The Hungry Earth part 4
  5. The Hungry Earth part 5
  6. The Hungry Earth part 6
  7. The Hungry Earth part 7

This is one of the earliest releases by Plankton Records. The label states these are songs from the two plays listed in the title. Each song probably has a song title, but I can’t find those online. I did find a book that tells the story of the Bahumutsi Drama Group and the ways it fought apartheid in South Africa with these plays. You can read about that online. Some sources list this as a cassette single. It’s really too long for that – at just under 25 minutes, it is really even a bit long for an EP, but that is closer to what it is. The sound here is a Capella music with some claps for rhythm here and there, but mostly just the compelling voices of the Bahumutsi Drama Group.

Missing Information: Song titles

Marc Catley – This is the Birth of Classical Acoustic Rock

Marc Catley
This is the Birth of Classical Acoustic Rock
1986 Plankton Records (PCN115)
London, England, United Kingdom

Marc Catley – Vocals, acoustic guitar on “Help Me”
Paul Donnelly – Keyboards, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, classical guitars, drum machine
Jeremy Cooke – Keyboards
Alison Donnelly – Vocals

  1. Love
  2. Write Your Will on My Heart
  3. Help Me
  4. Peace
  5. The Answer
  6. New Life
  7. Hosea

This is a rather rare tape by Marc Catley – apparently his first for Plankton Records. He would go on to do several eclectic/progressive/alternative collaborations with Geoff Mann, as well as his own various bands. As the title suggests, this is mostly acoustic music, with a few other instruments thrown in here and there. The only places this tape gets close to rock is in the upbeat songs “Love” and “Hosea” (this one with some cool spacey keyboards), or possibly the electric guitar-augmented “Help Me.” Otherwise, this tape appeals mostly to fans of folk/acoustic rock.

Marc Catley & Band – Hot Air for Jesus

Marc Catley & Band
Hot Air for Jesus
1993 Plankton Records (PCN139)
London, England, United Kingdom

Marc Catley – Vocals, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, voice overs, sound effects
Marianne Velvart – Vocals, voice effects, sound effects
Duncan Parsons – Drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals, voice overs, mandolin, lead boing, backing saw, sound effects

Jill (Peel) Towers – Flute, voice overs, sound effects
Martin Heap – Bass guitar
Clive Davenport – Electric guitar
Jonathan Dunn – Voice overs, sound effects, keyboards
Jake Willis – Voice overs, sound effects, keyboards
Steve Olner – Voice overs, sound effects
Andy Lardbrow – Voice overs

Side 1:

  1. My Guardian Angel Drives a White Sierra
  2. Hot Air for Jesus
  3. Good Wholesome Entertainment for the Christian Young Man
  4. Christ Massacred
  5. Stock Prophecy
  6. The Eternal and Never Ending Dance of Life That Weaves Across the Cosmos in Wave After Wave of Pulsating Vibrating Vibrant Warmth From the Heart of Deep Majestic Suns Fed on Interstellar Dust That is the Carrier of the Seed of the Life-Essence That We Call Love
  7. Isn’t He?
  8. Glib and Roly Bonnet Medley
  9. Keith…

Side 2:

  1. Christian World Concern ‘93
  2. False Pretences
  3. We’re in Love with Ourselves
  4. Mould Me Lord
  5. Sunday Best
  6. You Could Say
  7. Dope Man Every Time
  8. Good Wholesome Entertainment (reprise)

If you can’t tell by the songs titles… or how it is explicitly spelled out on the cover… this is satirical music. Most of this falls in the acoustic rock/alternative rock range. The tape packs in 8-9 songs in 18 minutes per side, so many of these are short songs. Track 6 on side 1 is – you guessed it – a 13 second long instrumental. A lot of the humor here is distinctly British in nature – a bit dry and tinged with a lot of social commentary. “Keith…” is pretty much a statement to someone name Keith to stop leaving messages on someone’s “answer phone.” Side B lists a song called “Tina Matthews” as track 2, but I can’t find a matching track on the tape there. Marc Catley has released many rock/alt/acoustic releases before and after this one, some while working with Geoff Mann. The tape has a pretty cool black & white extensively detailed hand drawn j-card. Marc Catley is now an ordained minister with the Church of England, and doesn’t appear to be recording music anymore.

Intransit – Out of the Dark

Out of the Dark
1984 Plankton Records (PCN 108)
London, England, United Kingdom

Steve Hunt – Vocals, drums, percussion
McCarthy Wenham – Bass guitar, percussion
Simon Law – Vocals, guitar
Mags Law – Keyboards, backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. The Divided
  2. Visions of Blue

Side 2:

  1. (I Want) News, Not History
  2. In Transit

Early British rock/alternative act that seems to have only released this and a split with Pete Ward. Intransit probably sounds like rock to many today, but this would have been more adult alternative when it was released. The keyboards at time almost give the music a Daniel Amos “Horrendous Disc” sound at times, especially on “Visions of Blue.” Before forming Intransit, Simon and Mags Law led Sea Stone, the band that helped launch Plankton Records. After this, they formed a new band called Fresh Claim that put out a lot more music than Intransit or Sea Stone put together.